As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him:
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S DOWNWARD GROWTH. "Rooted in Him." All of strength and fruitfulness there is in us depends on the depth with which we strike down into the life and love of God. Measuring and grasping the love of God, Paul begins downward. "Rooted and grounded." We can only reach loftily upward, and broadly outward, as we strike deeply downward. For as the height of a tree is generally in proportion to its depth, the outreaching of its branches according to the down-striking of its roots, so a Christian cannot fail of attaining to a lofty lily, if only he can first attain to a lowly life. We can see at a glance how much depends on this being rooted in Christ.
1. Our fruitfulness. A fruitfulness that continues in spite of surrounding drought, and barrenness, and death — how shall it be maintained? I recently witnessed the effects of long continued drought. The growing corn stood parched and earless. The reason is not simply the long absence of rain in summer, but also the superabundance of rain in spring — that on this account the roots of the corn and wheat ran along on the surface without striking down into the bottom soil. The plants had such prosperous rains in spring that they made no provision for a dry time by going down into the rich depths.
2. Our strength. You have seen the oak smitten by the whirlwind, and how with its giant arms it has caught the tempest in its embrace, and hurled it back, defeated, while itself stood firm and unmoved in its rooted strength. It is pitiful to see a godless man trying to be steadfast in affliction. He has no hidden hold on God by faith and prayer; he has not been sinking his faith deeper and deeper into the heart of Christ as the years rolled on. And now, when the shock comes, he has nothing to hold him. His friends try to prop him up with prudential maxims. But props can never take the place of roots.
3. Purity. "Consider the lily how it grows." It is in the stream, but not of it. Down deep into the rich and nourishing earth it strikes its roots, and so grows on the nutriment of the hidden soil. If you can reach down into God, and feed altogether on Him, you may present the beautiful spectacle.
II. THE CHRISTIAN'S UPWARD GROWTH. "Rooted and built up in Him."
1. Not built up as the house is built, with materials gathered here and there, and wrought together from without. The tree builds itself from the heart, and so does the Christian. Morality seeks to overlay men with good works. Its office is to get them to take on goodness in successive layers, by contact with good men and good books. Here is organic growth as against mechanical, vital increase as against artificial.
2. The duty of habitual aspiration after the highest attainments in grace is here urged. It has been said that no man can gaze on the marble statue of the Apollo Belvidere without standing more erect, and dilating his form in unconscious imitation. If the perfect physical form produces such impression, how much more the man who is perfect in spiritual stature and in moral greatness — the man Christ Jesus?
III. THE CHRISTIAN'S OUTWARD GROWTH. "Abounding therein with thanksgiving." This is the branching out into all service, and fruitfulness, and praise.
1. The one significant fact concerning the gifts of God to us is their exceeding abundance. The grace of God which bringeth salvation "was exceeding abundant." The mercy of God is "abundant mercy." "The Holy Ghost is shed forth abundantly." It is "our God who will abundantly pardon." "An entrance be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of God." And as though to sum up all, the apostle writes of Him who is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."
2. What is the abundance bestowed for except that it may flow out in abounding blessings to others?
(A. J. Gordon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: